The Unexpected Name Brands Behind Costco’s Store Label Products

Costco has tons of loyal customers for a very good reason: great merchandise combined with excellent savings. The membership-only warehouse chain even has its own line of quality products, sold under the Kirkland label. Kirkland has become a trusted name among Costco regulars, but many people might not be aware that there are some pretty big brands behind a lot of the label’s “generic” offerings.

From motor oil to hearing aids to some of your favorite premium snacks and beverages, you can rest easy knowing that you’re saving money while getting the quality you’ve come to expect from the most reliable brands around.

Certain Varieties Of Kirkland Coffee Are Made By Starbucks

Views Of A Costco Store Ahead Of Earns
Tim Boyle/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Tim Boyle/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Most Starbucks fans are quite aware how expensive their caffeine habit can be, so it’s a relief to know that you can save big by buying certain Kirkland house blends instead.

The bags associated with the higher-priced Seattle brand are two-and-a half-pounds and are stamped with a message indicating that they were custom roasted by Starbucks. They include the Espresso Blend Dark Roast, Signature House Blend Medium Roast, and Decaf House Blend Medium Roast.

Is That Humboldt Creamery Ice Cream? Yes, It Is!

Vanilla ice cream is sprinkled with merlot and espresso salts
Wendy Maeda/The Boston Globe via Getty Images
Wendy Maeda/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

California-based Humboldt Creamery was established in 1929 and is favored by many people for its “free-farmed” certification and its well-treated cows. After some financial difficulties, the company was purchased by Crystal Creamery in 2009.

Today, Humboldt Creamery has a partnership with Costco and provides all the store’s premium vanilla ice cream under the Kirkland name. As their website says, “It’s our firm belief that everyone deserves quality milk and dairy products without having to pay luxury prices for it.” Costco shoppers are certainly happy about the savings, too!

Buy Ocean Spray Cranberry Juice On The Cheap At Costco

Shelves of juice for sale
Jeffrey Greenberg/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
Jeffrey Greenberg/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

There are quite a few Ocean Spray brand products, such as juices and “craisins” (dried cranberries), for sale at Costco stores nationwide. However, one of their products is sold under the Costco label: Kirkland Signature Ocean Spray Cranberry Premium 100% Juice.

It comes in money-saving packs of two 96-ounce bottles, making it a great deal for people who drink a lot of cranberry juice. With no added sugar, artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives, the Kirkland juice is a pretty healthy beverage option.

Kirkland Diapers Are Just As Good As Huggies

A family passes by bulk packages of diapers at a Costco store
Chris Hondros/Getty Image
Chris Hondros/Getty Image

Diapers are one of the most costly items that new parents have to buy, even though they’re only used for a short time before being tossed in the trash. Fortunately, Costco’s Kirkland line is produced by a well-known company, Kimberly-Clark.

Kimberly-Clark is responsible for such trusted brands as Huggies, Scott, Kleenex, Cottonelle, Kotex, Poise, Depend, Pull-Ups, GoodNites, and many more. Buying Kirkland label diapers is a no-brainer for people trying to save money on high-quality products!

Stay Hydrated And Refreshed With Niagara Brand Bottled Water

Pallets of bottled water stacked at Costco
Lindsey Nicholson/Education Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
Lindsey Nicholson/Education Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

People who drink a lot of bottled water know that different brands have different tastes, which might lead to some confusion as to why Kirkland Signature water is indistinguishable from the Niagara brand. Well, it’s because Niagara Bottling, LLC produces it!

As the supplier for Safeway and Walmart’s private labels, Niagara is the largest supplier of private label bottled water in North America and an affordable product to stay hydrated with.

Reynolds Wrap Costs Less Under The Kirkland Label

A view of Reynolds Wrap being used
Monica Schipper/Getty Images for Food Network Magazine
Monica Schipper/Getty Images for Food Network Magazine

The New Zealand-based packaging company Reynolds is one of those brands that are immediately recognizable for its quality products, especially heavy-duty aluminum foil. They’re behind Kirkland Signature Foodservice Foil, which even bears the Reynolds logo.

Some consumers who aren’t aware of the company connection have found that they prefer Kirkland to Reynolds. One Amazon reviewer wrote, “In my opinion, Kirkland foil compares favorably to standard Reynolds Wrap.” What they don’t know can’t hurt them, right?

Saving On Hearing Aids ‘Sounds’ Like A Smart Idea

hearing aid
mark0polo/Unsplash
mark0polo/Unsplash

Did you know that most Costco locations have Hearing Aid Centers where they offer free hearing tests and screenings? In addition, you can also get a great deal on hearing aids there if it turns out that you need one.

Kirkland’s Signature (KS9) digital hearing aid is manufactured by Sonova, an industry leader that’s known for its universal Bluetooth streaming technology. The partnership was confirmed by The Hearing Review in 2019. Because of its lower-cost options for hearing aids, Costco is now the biggest private provider of hearing devices in the U.S., according to Hearing Health & Technology Matters.

Rest Easy Knowing You’re Sleeping On A Stearns & Foster Mattress

Mark and Natalie Tolley mattress shop
Kate Patterson for The Washington Post via Getty Images
Kate Patterson for The Washington Post via Getty Images

Although some people associate Costco with food and smaller household items, the retailer also carries some big-ticket items that are worth another look. For example, did you know that Costco sells mattresses?

The Kirkland Signature line of mattress is actually produced in partnership with Stearns & Foster, a Sealy brand known for its quality crafted mattresses. One reviewer on Reddit shared: “this one is 100% premium luxury! You won’t be disappointed.”

No Regrets About Buying Blommer Chocolate At Costco

chocolate
jbbell52/Pinterest
jbbell52/Pinterest

Originally founded in 1939, Blommer Chocolate Company is now the United States’ largest ingredient cocoa processor and chocolate ingredient supplier. The company is responsible for making those super snack-worthy milk chocolate covered almonds that are so hard to resist at Costco.

You can feel good about splurging on the sweets, though. Costco and Blommer worked together to develop sustainable means of cocoa sourcing in West Africa’s Ivory Coast, which is where most of their chocolate is from.

Kirkland Pro-Care Infant Formula Is Manufactured By Perrigo

bottle
rainierridao/Unsplash
rainierridao/Unsplash

When it comes to parenting, diapers aren’t the only expensive thing that mom and dad need to worry about buying. Infant formula is also a big expense in many families’ budgets, which is why it’s so great that Costco and Perrigo have teamed up to make one that’s a bit more affordable.

Perrigo Company, one of the world’s biggest suppliers of health and self-care products, makes Kirkland Pro-Care Infant Formula. This baby formula has received excellent ratings for both value and nutrition by The New York Times. Why spend more when you can get one of the best for less?

Having A Party? Save By Buying Chinet Cups Under The Kirkland Label

red cup
giorgiotrovato/Unsplash
giorgiotrovato/Unsplash

Chinet disposable cups are a staple at so many get-togethers. You certainly don’t want to sacrifice quality on a product that’s protecting your carpet from a cupful of soda or wine, and fortunately, you don’t have to when you buy Kirkland brand disposable red plastic cups. Packages of the cups even feature the Chinet logo.

The company has been manufacturing disposable tableware for nearly a century now and has earned the trust of party hosts everywhere.

Treat Your Dog To Diamond Naturals Food For Less

Young girl feeding small dog
Auscape/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
Auscape/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Also known by the name Schell and Kampeter, Inc., Diamond Pet Foods is a quality brand that many people are proud to give their pooches. Did you know that the company is behind Kirkland Signature Dog Food?

Dog Food Advisor gives Kirkland dry dog food its second-highest rating and calls it an “above-average” product. Consumers like it too, with one customer sharing this review: “The veterinarian studied the ingredients and then asked what brand it was. I told him it was Costco/Kirkland and he said to use this exclusively. No need for anything else!”

Kirkland Albacore Tuna Is Really Bumble Bee Brand

Cans of Kirkland brand albacore tune
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Many years ago, Costco determined that most commercially available tuna wasn’t up to the standards it had been in previous times. So Tim Rose, who oversees the company’s foods division, forged a partnership with Bumble Bee.

Interestingly, the Kirkland brand’s “superior quality” solid white albacore sells for a bit more than the Bumble Bee label at Costco, but it’s a good deal for a quality product either way you look at it.

Rice’s Honey Is Just As Sweet When It’s A Costco Branded Product

Homemade crepes with fresh blueberries and honey.
Anjelika Gretskaia/REDA&CO/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
Anjelika Gretskaia/REDA&CO/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Colorado-based Rice’s Lucky Clover Honey LLC has been in business since 1924, providing people with “authentic, high quality, raw, and unfiltered honey.”

Now, this well-liked product is available to some Costco members under the name Kirkland Signature 100% Local Raw Unfiltered Honey. Since the store aims to provide local honey to its consumers, not every branch nationwide carries the Rice’s brand but many “lucky” ones do have it in their local mix!

Add A Touch Of Class To Your Get-Together With Isigny Ste-Mère Brand Brie

a chef displays a cheese platter featuring French brie
GREG BAKER/AFP via Getty Images
GREG BAKER/AFP via Getty Images

Hosting a wine and cheese party anytime soon? Whatever the occasion, Brie cheese is always a crowd-pleaser, and you can secretly save on a high-quality brand if you purchase Kirkland Signature Isigny French Brie, which comes in at less than $7.

The company behind the tasty product is Isigny Ste-Mère, which makes its Brie “exclusively from the best Normandy milks,” according to the company’s website. Cheese lovers who shop at Costco would be wise to give this one a try.

Yep, Those Are Jelly Belly Candies!

Jelly beans sit in a bin waiting to be packaged
David Paul Morris/Getty Images
David Paul Morris/Getty Images

This is a partnership that candy lovers can get behind! In an open agreement, Kirkland and Jelly Belly have partnered up to bring the iconic Jelly Belly candies to Costco.

Now there are four-pound jars of the gourmet jelly beans, all fat-free and kosher, available for purchase under the Kirkland label. With 49 flavors, including Piña Colada, Buttered Popcorn, and Toasted Marshmallow, there’s sure to be a jelly bean to please every palate.

Don’t Be Afraid To Power Up With Kirkland Batteries, Since They’re Made By Duracell

Duracell batteries are displayed on a shelf
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Generic batteries are one of those household staples that people tend not to trust as much as the name brands. It’s understandable; after all, no one wants their gadgets or tools dying on them in the middle of a task!

Here’s some good news for Costco shoppers: Kirkland Signature Batteries are made by none other than Duracell, one of the most trusted names in the industry! This news was confirmed by Costco CEO Craig Jelinek in 2016.

There’s Plenty Of Speculation About Pureology Moisture Hair Care Products

shampoo
awcreativeut/Unsplash
awcreativeut/Unsplash

This one is not proven. However, there’s lots of speculation about Costco’s shampoo and conditioner and most of it is based around the fact that the bottles look quite similar to the ones that L’Oréal’s Pureology products come in.

Whether the rumors are true or not, the Kirkland hair care products get such good reviews that they’re worth trying for the money savings alone. Redditor whereis_678 shared, “I only used salon brands and now I prefer Kirkland. The latest shampoo/conditioner I used was [Matrix Biolage] and my hair is even nicer using Kirkland. Highly recommend!”

The Brands Behind Kirkland’s Alcohol

kirkalnd-liquor
Imgur
Imgur

Although it’s not confirmed, bartenders and customers discussed their inclinations when it comes to the brands behind Costco’s alcohol selection. They agreed that Kirkland’s vodka tastes like Grey Goose. This seems plausible as a rep from Bacardi confirmed it weren’t behind the brand, ruling it out.

Kirkland’s Signature Blended Scotch Whisky is thought to be Alexander Murray & Company, which doesn’t narrow it down too much because they own around 12 distilleries around Scotland. Kirkland Bourbon is thought to be George Dickel, while the Spiced Rum is thought to be either Cruzan or Captain Morgan. Customers believe the tequila is Hornitos, while the Candian Whisky is Crown Royal.

Kirkland Bacon Is From Hormel Foods

kirkland-bacon
Costco
Costco

Kirkland bacon is priced around 20% less than its competitors without compromising on quality. So who is behind the Kirkland label with this meat? It’s Hormel Foods.

Sarah George, a corporate buyer for Costco, visited 10 bacon plants before deciding to select Hormel to partner with. But you won’t find the same bacon under the Hormel label. Costco made adjustments to Hormel’s precooked bacon to be thicker, making Kirkland’s bacon different from the rest.

Vroom! That’s Warren Motor Oil On The Shelves At Costco

refilling motor oil
Bodo Schackow/picture alliance via Getty Images
Bodo Schackow/picture alliance via Getty Images

Auto-savvy customers who purchase Kirkland Signature Full Synthetic SAE 5W-30 Motor Oil are actually driving away with a product from Warren Oil Company, the largest independent lubricant supplier of lubricants in North America.

The Kirkland label motor oil gets excellent reviews from Costco customers, including this one from the general manager of a national auto repair company: “Skeptical at first… [however], you just cannot beat the price. Let me say that this is a great product for an incredible price & value.”

No Need To Spend Top Dollar On Acetum Brand Balsamic Vinegar

balsalmic
carolineattwood/Unsplash
carolineattwood/Unsplash

For more than 20 years now, Costco has had a partnership with Acetum, a century-old Italian company that distributes its specialty vinegars worldwide.

Costco customers can sample a taste of Europe when they purchase Kirkland Signature balsamic vinegar, which has a label stating that it comes from Acetum’s production facilities. The company calls its sought-after balsamic vinegar “black gold,” and consumers agree that it’s really something special.

Get High-Quality Ehrmann Yogurt For Less At Costco

organic market dairy aisle, stocking
Jeffrey Greenberg/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
Jeffrey Greenberg/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Chances are that you’ve heard of the yogurt producer Ehrmann Commonwealth Dairy, which is known for its innovative and delicious products. And if you’re a Costco regular, you might have sampled their wares without even realizing it!

Ehrmann and Costco entered a partnership together in 2014, which saw the dairy providing the retailer with its Kirkland Signature Greek Yogurt. It costs sufficiently less than some of the other brands sold by Costco but is a favorite among yogurt aficionados.

Say ‘Buon Appetito’ With Parmigiano Reggiano Cheese From Formaggi Zanetti

Basic ingredients as Christine Burns makes a parmigiano-reggiano broth with ravioli
John Patriquin/Portland Portland Press Herald via Getty Images
John Patriquin/Portland Portland Press Herald via Getty Images

Parmigiano Reggiano is a special hard cheese produced in certain parts of Italy that can be pretty pricey here. Pasta lovers who enjoy sprinkling their favorite dishes with a topping of the delicious cheese are sure to be delighted that they can get the stuff from a renowned Italian company at low Kirkland prices.

Formaggi Zanetti, which exports a variety of cheese worldwide, is the producer of Kirkland’s Parmigiano Reggiano. And if you’re really a big fan, you can buy a 72-pound wheel of it for $949.99!

Here’s The Company That’s (Probably) Behind Kirkland Signature Ultra Clean Laundry Liquid

Henkel
Vision Photos/ullstein bild via Getty Images
Vision Photos/ullstein bild via Getty Images

Consumer Reports had this to say about Kirkland Signature Ultra Clean Liquid: it “cleaned up nicely in our tests, earning an Excellent rating in removing stains from body oil, one of the chemicals in sweat (think sweaty workout clothes).” That’s excellent for a store brand!

Although neither company has specifically confirmed a partnership, it appears highly likely that Henkel, which produces many different detergents including Persil, also makes the Costco label product.

You Don’t Necessarily Need A Membership

A shopper displays her Costco Wholesale membership card
Tim Boyle/Getty Images
Tim Boyle/Getty Images

One of the main factors deterring people from shopping at Costco is the pricy membership fee. So what do you do if you want those sweet deals but you’re not willing to shell out the annual fee? Easy. Ask somebody who has a Costco membership to get you a Costco gift card.

You don’t need a membership to use it and you can still access the full store without any questions. Start adding “Costco gift cards” to your Christmas wishlist!

Do Your Shopping On Tuesday And Wednesday Mornings

mornings
MICHELE EVE SANDBERG/AFP/Getty Images
MICHELE EVE SANDBERG/AFP/Getty Images

Costco can be a busy place, especially on weekends, in the evenings, and right before holidays such as Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter. If you really want to have the time and the space to scope out the best deals, you’re going to want to go to Costco when the store isn’t so busy.

The quietest times to shop are Tuesday and Wednesday mornings. If you have a morning off work, or if you work evenings, head into Costco to do your weekly shopping.

The Best Deals Are Further Down The Aisles

aisles
Dominic Bracco II for The Washington Post via Getty Images
Dominic Bracco II for The Washington Post via Getty Images

It may seem like you’re getting the best deal when you pick an item up from the big stack of things being advertised in the front of the store, but the truth is that the best deals are usually placed further down the aisles.

You’re going to have to do a bit of searching if you really want to snag that perfect bargain, but we promise, the hunt is worth it. You might even pick up some more free samples along the way.

Know The Layout Of Your Store

layout
John Greim/LightRocket via Getty Images
John Greim/LightRocket via Getty Images

While every Costco warehouse is a little bit different, there are some rules of thumb that apply to almost every store. First of all, food aisles and household goods are on opposite sides of the store. Also, the bakery, deli, and produce sections all are usually located at the back of the store. In the middle, you can find all the clothing, snacks, books, and gift cards.

If you came into the store for produce, stay on the outside perimeter. Don’t go wandering into the middle of the store or you’re going to be tempted by all of those clothing items.

Don’t Be Discouraged By Disappearing Stock

stock
Brooks Kraft LLC/Corbis via Getty Images
Brooks Kraft LLC/Corbis via Getty Images

Yes, that’s the actual word Costco uses to talk about the fact that you can never find anything in there. They choose to move the stock around so much so that you have to scan a bunch of items just to find the peanut butter.

If you don’t want to risk making impulse buys, ask an employee to direct you to where the item is now. They’re usually glad to help!

What The Asterisk On The Price Tag Really Means

tag
DealsPlus/Twitter
DealsPlus/Twitter

If you ever see an asterisk on a price sign while you were wandering the aisles of Costco, you might want to pay attention to it. That asterisk is the store’s way of telling you that the item you’re looking at won’t be getting restocked. Whatever they have in stock is what’s available, and when it’s gone, it’s gone.

The asterisks are usually found on seasonal items that won’t be back for a little while.

All About Gift Cards

gift cards
costco_is_awesome/Instagram
costco_is_awesome/Instagram

We already know that Costco gift cards can be a great way to get into the store, but these cards are so much more than they appear to be. You can get anything from gift cards for 2-for-1 movie passes to discounted admissions to local attractions.

Sometimes savings are even built into the Costco gift cards themselves. In the photo above, you can see that Costco was selling four $25 gift cards for just $79.99

Never Ever Steal…Because They Have People Watching

storefront
Michael Brochstein/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images
Michael Brochstein/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

It might sound like it’d be hard to steal a 76-pack of dish detergent, but people still try to steal from Costco. Every store employs a couple of secret security officers, which is a pretty common practice in most stores these days.

Costco’s security officers walk around in plain clothes “shopping” just like they were a normal member, but in reality, they’re keeping an eye out for people stealing merchandise.

How Many Samples Are Too Many?

samples
pheebs_h/Instagram
pheebs_h/Instagram

Costco employees assure us that you really can take as many samples as you want. You don’t have to pretend to be a different person or say that you’re getting it for your kid. You can just walk right up to that sample counter and ask for seconds. And thirds.

If you like the product so much, it might be worth the investment, but if you need a few more tastes to make up your mind, that’s totally okay.

Be Sure To Check Out The Dry Goods And Frozen Foods

dry goods
GABRIEL BOUYS/AFP/Getty Images
GABRIEL BOUYS/AFP/Getty Images

Costco is great for bulking up on fresh produce or meats, but they aren’t exactly door-busting deals. The non-perishables and frozen foods are the best deals because, of course, they last the longest!

Hopefully, this makes you feel better about buying that 100-pack of Oreos or 1 kg bag of trail mix. As long as you have room to store it somewhere at home, it’s usually a better deal to buy in bulk!

You Can Always Fill A Prescription

pharmacy
Toronto Star Archives/Toronto Star via Getty Images
Toronto Star Archives/Toronto Star via Getty Images

There’s no membership required to go in and fill a prescription at the Costco pharmacy. Just walk in and tell the greeter what you’re doing, and you’ll have no problem heading straight to the pharmacy department.

The Costco pharmacy also boasts lower dispensing fees than most other drugstores, so you’ll be saving money in the long run. If you DO have a Costco membership, it’s a real timesaver to get your shopping done while your prescriptions are filled.

Learn How To Use Those Price Tags

checkout
Dominic Bracco II for The Washington Post via Getty Images
Dominic Bracco II for The Washington Post via Getty Images

Just like may other retailers, there’s a rhyme and reason behind the pricing system used at Costco. For example, if a price ends in .97, then it means the item is on clearance.

If the price tag ends in .00 or .88, then it means the manager cut the price for a special reason, like it could be the last one in stock, doesn’t have a box, or has pieces missing.

Talk To The Roadshow Sellers

vendors
thecostcoconnoisseur/Instagram
thecostcoconnoisseur/Instagram

Roadshows will go in and out of Costco, and they all stay for different amounts of time. Lindt, Krispy Kreme, and even vendors who sell items like specialty bedsheets will set up roadshow displays that rarely last more than a few weeks.

Either stock up now, or ask how long they’ll be in store so you don’t miss the deals. Once they’re gone, there’s a chance they could be gone for good!

Low Costco Gas Prices

gas
Francis Dean/Corbis via Getty Images
Francis Dean/Corbis via Getty Images

One thing Costco does right is gas prices. It seems like gas is getting more expensive every day, but you can generally count on Costco to get you the best price on gas in your area. Those long lines are daunting, but the price is worth it. Those Costco gas bars will save you a lot of money in the long run.

Make sure you fill up before you shop, though, so all of your ice cream and frozen goods don’t melt in the back of your car.

Don’t Worry If You Miss A Sale

miss-sale
Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images
Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

Costco has a lot of great sales all throughout the year, but if you miss a sale, it’s not the end of the world. You can still get the best price on that item you had your eye on. Costco may not price match like some other retailers, but you can get a price cut within 30 days if an item you bought goes on sale later.

All you have to do is put in a simple request online. Costco has some pretty great customer service.

Take Advantage Of The Cheap Hotdogs

hotdogs
Instagram / @barzy123
Instagram / @barzy123

Half the point of making a trip to Costco is to get the super cheap jumbo hot dog and soda combo for only $1.50. Costco doesn’t exactly make a huge profit off the deal, but they know it gets customers in the doors.

For many people, having such a cheap meal on hand (especially if shopping with kids) helps justify the annual membership fees. Plus, eating while you’re at the store means you’ll be full and less likely to load up on impulse purchases.

They Check Your Receipt To Protect You

receipt
FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP via Getty Images
FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP via Getty Images

You might think that the Costco employee that you show your receipt to on the way out is making sure you didn’t steal anything, but there’s actually a much more wholesome reason. In reality, the number one reason is to make sure you didn’t get overcharged for anything. The employee checking your receipt is aware of the sales and wants to make sure any coupons were applied.

The other reason is inventory control. They want to make sure the cashier scanned everything properly.

Do Some Shopping Online

delivery
Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images
Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images

Costco is known for stocking just about everything imaginable, and you can find even more weird things online. Go to Costco.com and take a look at some of the unexpected things you can get, such as a funeral casket, a $1,000 doomsday emergency-food kit, or even coupons for local car dealerships.

The best part? They’ll ship these strange things to most of their locations in states across America. How’s that for service?

You Don’t Need A Membership To Buy Alcohol There In Some States

Costco-46409
Chris Hondros/Getty Images
Chris Hondros/Getty Images

There are a few things you can buy at Costco without a membership. In a handful of states, Costco’s Kirkland-branded alcohol is one of those. Costco hasn’t provided an official list, but there are several internet message boards about the topic.

The states mentioned in these forums include Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Indiana, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Texas, and Vermont. However, you’ll definitely want to contact your local Costco before making the trip.

Produce Quality Can Vary

Produce Quality Can Vary
Scott Olson/Getty Images
Scott Olson/Getty Images

Many Aldi fans are dedicated to the store because of its produce, and specifically because of the bargain prices on tropical fruits such as kiwi, pineapple, and mango. However, the bananas for sale are frequently past their prime, and other produce has been found to be of inconsistent quality, according to a Consumer Reports survey.

Another common complaint is that the store uses a ton of unnecessary plastic packaging on produce. Today’s eco-conscious consumers notice things like this!

Breakfast Cereal Tends To Be More Expensive At Aldi

Breakfast Cereal Tends To Be More Expensive At Aldi
F Delventhal/Flickr
F Delventhal/Flickr

As a rule, Aldi only stocks name brands when they’re not able to make their own product that’s of equal quality or better. Name-brand breakfast cereals are hard to beat, so the store doesn’t offer many of its own private label versions.

The problem is that name brands are almost always more expensive at Aldi since the store doesn’t accept manufacturers’ coupons. As a result, you’ll be wise to purchase your favorite breakfast cereals at the grocery or big-box store.

Buy Baby Food Elsewhere

Buy Baby Food Elsewhere
Tim Clayton/Corbis via Getty Images
Tim Clayton/Corbis via Getty Images

Many baby essentials, like formula and diapers, are almost always a better deal at Aldi than at other stores. Items like baby snacks are also a good deal and well worth stocking up on while you make an Aldi run.

However, when it comes to baby food, you’re better off going to big-box stores or traditional grocers because the selection at Aldi is just not a bargain. And you can use name-brand baby food coupons in conjunction with the sale prices at other stores.

Some Chips And Snacks Are Great But Others Aren’t Worth The Savings

Some Chips And Snacks Are Great But Others Aren't Worth The Savings
Mike Steele/Flickr
Mike Steele/Flickr

Snack items are a great food to stock up on while at Aldi. That is, some of them. People have said that the taste of Aldi-brand potato chips are nowhere near as good as name-brand varieties.

Some other types of Aldi chips score high with the store’s fans, though. The person behind the blog Thrifty Frugal Mom said that Aldi brand tortilla, corn, and kettle-cooked chips are consistently “just as good as any name brand.”

There Are Quality Issues With The Zip-Top Bags

There Are Quality Issues With The Zip-Top Bags
emperorchaz/Reddit
emperorchaz/Reddit

Aldi’s zip-top storage bags are another product that knowledgeable customers tend to steer clear of. While they’re a great price, the quality leaves much to be desired.

Many people say that they have noticed a dip in quality over time and recommend that people get the name-brand versions of zipping bags instead. After all, a bag that tears and spills its contents isn’t really helping out in the long run, even if it costs a little less!

Aldi’s Store-Brand Soda Comes Up Flat

Aldi's Store-Brand Soda Comes Up Flat
Franki Chamaki/Unsplash
Franki Chamaki/Unsplash

If you drink a lot of soda, you can save quite a bit by buying Aldi’s store brand beverages. But unfortunately, the trade-off isn’t worth it to many people. The taste and quality just aren’t there, which means that “savings” were actually wasted money.

Don’t be tempted to buy the name-brand versions there, either! You’ll pay top price at Aldi. Save the Coke and Sprite purchases for your trips to the grocery store, and use those coupons.

Meat Might Be Less Expensive At The Local Grocery Store (Except On Certain Days)

Meat Might Be Less Expensive At The Local Grocery Store
Gina Ferazzi/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images
Gina Ferazzi/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

While Aldi does occasionally offer some good deals on meat, their regular prices aren’t all that great. Smart Aldi shoppers know to go on Wednesdays for the best discounts because the store tends to offer some pretty fantastic sales on select meat items those days, but it’s generally a better idea to buy staples like chicken and turkey at your regular grocery store.

Additionally, Consumer Reports has found the quality of Aldi’s meat to be questionable at times.

Many People Don’t Like Aldi’s Yogurt

Many People Don't Like Aldi's Yogurt
Gina Ferazzi/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images
Gina Ferazzi/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

Yogurt is another of those foods that people develop pretty strong preferences for. However, quite a few Aldi fans have reported that they don’t like the store’s private-label brand. Charice M. of St. Louis, Missouri, told Reader’s Digest that she won’t buy her yogurt at Aldi, saying that it tastes “a little off” to her.

Name-brand yogurt products are nearly always going to be cheaper at regular retailers, so if Aldi’s brand doesn’t suit your tastes, get yours at the grocery instead.

Did You Know That Aldi Sells Clothing?

clothing
Tobias Hase/picture alliance via Getty Images
Tobias Hase/picture alliance via Getty Images

Some Aldi locations sell clothing these days, in the non-food “Aldi Finds” department. Unfortunately, quite a few consumer experts who have given the store’s fashionable offerings a try say they’re not a good buy.

A contributor on Aldi Reviewer shared that she bought some pajamas at the store. They weren’t even machine dryable and lost a button in the wash right away. She also tried a pair of slippers and a golf polo with equally disappointing results. Our verdict: save the clothes shopping for another store.

Skip The Gel Dishwasher Detergent

Skip The Gel Dishwasher Detergent
Nathan Dumlao/Unsplash
Nathan Dumlao/Unsplash

Dishwasher detergent is dishwasher detergent, right? Not according to many customers who have tried Aldi’s brand. In general, the retailer’s powder packs receive decent reviews but the gel version is nearly universally disliked.

The dishwashing gel “leaves cloudy marks all over my glasses and plates and spots on my silverware,” shared one consumer on Aldi Reviewer, while Redditors called the product “garbage” among some other choice words.

Butter Isn’t The Best

Butter Isn't The Best
Oliver Berg/picture alliance via Getty Images
Oliver Berg/picture alliance via Getty Images

Aldi shoppers seem to have a love/hate relationship with the chain store’s butter. On the one hand, it’s a great value and many people cite it as a “must-buy” item when they’re stocking up.

However, it seems that how you use the butter seems to make a difference. For everyday use it’s fine, but people who cook and bake a lot say the butter quality is not up to par.

Coffee Snobs Should Skip Aldi’s Bargain Coffee

Coffee Snobs Should Skip Aldi's Bargain Coffee
Anton NovoderezhkinTASS via Getty Images
Anton NovoderezhkinTASS via Getty Images

Everyone who enjoys a cup of java in the morning seems to have some pretty strong opinions about coffee, especially when it comes to purchasing it at Aldi’s. People who have refined taste are probably better off getting their beans elsewhere.

“If you’re even a little bit of a coffee snob, you’ll want to leave it on the shelf,” shared Ruth Soukup of Living Well Spending Less. “If you’ve already given up your Starbucks trips to save money and you’re brewing your cuppa at home, do yourself a favor and spend an extra buck or two on a decent bag of coffee.” At least don’t buy the very cheapest bag that Aldi has in stock.

Ready-To-Bake Cookies And Other Goodies

Ready-To-Bake Cookies And Other Goodies
jeninehartnett/Pinterest
jeninehartnett/Pinterest

Ready-to-bake items like cookies and cinnamon rolls are enticing to people who want the experience of baking at home without all the time that making treats from scratch entails. Sadly, the pre-made doughs and ready-to-bake cookies offered by Aldi fail to meet expectations of deliciousness for many customers.

Additionally, you could end up paying more for one of these products at Aldi than for a higher-quality name-brand such as Pillsbury, since Aldi doesn’t accept manufacturer coupons. This is another item to add to your regular grocery list.

Don’t Skimp On Kitty Litter

Don't Skimp On Kitty Litter
Auscape/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
Auscape/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Pet lovers enjoy treating their furry (and scaly!) companions to the best in life. When it comes to staples like kitty litter, however, many of us prefer to save as much money as possible. Aldi has a store-brand cat litter but according to those in the know, it’s not worth the price.

Aldi Reviewer reported that Heart to Tail Scoopable Cat Litter doesn’t work as well as name brands. The product is dusty and smells weird, and they wrote that any “liquid waste doesn’t always clump well.” It’s probably worth a few extra bucks to get the good stuff, and your cat will thank you for it.

Would You Buy Frozen Sushi?

sushi
Leon Brocard/Flickr
Leon Brocard/Flickr

Although a lot of people wouldn’t even consider eating sushi that came from a grocery store, this is a judgment-free zone. We’re here to share that there are actually a few people who have reported excellent experiences with the frozen sushi that Aldi offers.

However, the majority of folks who have tried Aldi’s frozen sushi don’t have anything positive to write. In fact, Aldi Nerd reports that the store’s Thaw-and-Serve Fusia Shrimp and Avocado Roll is a product to steer clear of. “While it’s only $4.99, you probably just want to skip this,” says one consumer. We’ll take their word for it.

Paper Goods

Paper Goods
Chris Hondros/Getty Images
Chris Hondros/Getty Images

Paper goods like toilet paper, napkins, and paper towels are easy to score deals on when using coupons. Unfortunately, this means that Aldi isn’t the best place to get these products if you’re looking for big discounts.

Although the store’s everyday prices on paper goods are reasonable, people interested in buying name brand products and/or using coupons should shop elsewhere for the absolute best prices when they’re stocking the pantry.

Go To The Drugstore Or Big-Box For Deodorant, Shampoo, And Other Toiletries

Go To The Drugstore Or Big-Box For Deodorant, Shampoo, And Other Toiletries
Peter KovalevTASS via Getty Images
Peter KovalevTASS via Getty Images

If your only stop for the day is Aldi, you’ll certainly be able to find many of the toiletries you need, such as deodorant, shampoo, and soap. But you’re not going to get a stellar deal on them. The folks at Cheapism found that Aldi’s store-brand toiletries were more expensive than other retailers’ private labels.

Considering that other stores have better selections and take manufacturers’ coupons, you’re nearly always going to be better off skipping the personal care aisle at Aldi if you can.

Steer Clear Of Most Frozen Shrimp Except The Jumbo Size

Steer Clear Of Most Frozen Shrimp Except The Jumbo Size
Brooks Kraft LLC/Corbis via Getty Images
Brooks Kraft LLC/Corbis via Getty Images

Ruth Soukup, author of the popular blog Living Well Spending Less, has shared that Aldi’s frozen shrimp is not usually a terrific deal. One exception, however, is the chain’s jumbo frozen shrimp.

Soukup explains, “Don’t bother with the other sizes of shrimp. They aren’t worth the price compared to their weight.” Frozen fish like salmon and tilapia are usually a good buy at Aldi though, said Soukup.

How Do Aldi’s Kitchen Appliances Stack Up?

kitchen
reestronaut/Reddit
reestronaut/Reddit

We’re learning that Aldi sells a lot of non-food products in its stores, including Ambiano brand kitchen supplies and small appliances. So what’s the verdict with buying something like a hand mixer or pressure cooker at Aldi versus a larger retailer?

While reviews of Aldi’s appliances are pretty mixed, the consensus among many consumers, including the team at Cheapism, is that spending a little more on a name brand item will probably save you more in the long run.

Avoid “Special Buys” For A Specific Reason

special
Carolyn Van Houten/The Washington Post via Getty Images
Carolyn Van Houten/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Now, here’s a category of Aldi offerings that made the list for a different reason than a lot of the others. Many Aldi regulars warn people against buying the store’s “special buys” or “Aldi Finds.”

It’s not because there’s anything wrong with the specialty items. No, it’s just that you’re probably going to fall in love with these delicious products and when you go back to restock, they’ll already be gone from the store’s shelves! Aldi labels its products as special buys as a way to let customers know that they won’t stick around for long.